VA hospital creates veteran tribute wall

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Pictures freeze a moment in time forever, but when 90 plus years of moments create a lifetime, capturing two at a time makes sense.

At 91 years old, Harold Kendrick continues to work. Instead of flying around in a C-47, he now spends his days working in the garage behind his house, sometimes spending seven hours in there at a time. Over the years, he has fixed hundreds of bikes. Once they are fixed, he gives them to kids.

"I have been working on these things ever since I was a kid," said Kendrick.

Kendrick was born in 1923; 18 years later, he enlisted in the air force right in the middle of World War II.

"We found these concentration camps, and my company liberated 80 of them," said Kendrick.

Medals mark his three years of service, and a picture hangs nearby. It is a photograph of Kendrick holding another picture of himself when he was in the army.

"All that life that is in their face—you get to see it composed all in one picture," said Little Rock VA Hospital Medical Photographer Jeff Bowen.

Bowen took the picture of Kendrick. It is part of his latest project that lives in one of the hallways in the Little Rock VA Hospital. It is a tribute wall composed of pictures of 36 veterans including Kendrick, holding pictures of themselves when they were younger.

"It means a great deal to them," said Little Rock VA Hospital Medical Illustrator Anita Plummer. "It means a great deal to their family to honor them because of their service."

In 91 years, you experience a lot. "See your friend's plane go down," said Kendrick. "You get so scared. You are not scared anymore." You feel a lot. "I got a few pieces of shrapnel in my leg."

And, he says visions of the war still wake him up at night. But when they do, he goes to work and thinks about the wars still being fought and wants to serve. "If I was able, I would go help them," said Kendrick.

Another World War II tribute wall hangs in the North Little Rock VA Hospital. They have been working on creating the wall for about eight months now. About 20 veterans are waiting to have their pictures taken, and the wall will continue to grow.

The VA hospital previously had a wall of "Veterans Serving Veterans." Bowen and Plummer decided it was time to change that, so they came up with the idea to honor WWII veterans because the hospital still treats a lot of them.


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